Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

    May 29, 2023  
American University Catalog 2020-2021 
American University Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International Affairs (MA): Comparative and Regional Studies

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs

Offered by the School of International Service , the Comparative and Regional Studies (CRS) program prepares students to be regional experts who understand key global issues through comparative analysis across regions and countries. Unlike traditional regional studies, CRS combines study of the comparative method with regional expertise. In this way, CRS regional concentrations serve as laboratories for knowledge, allowing students to draw lessons from experiences within a region to inform their understanding of the local context and, importantly, of how and why the local context shapes outcomes of global interest.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least a B+ (3.30 or higher on a 4.00 scale) and should have had at least 24 credit hours of social science coursework relevant to international studies. Students who do not meet these minimum requirements, if otherwise admissible, may be assigned additional coursework in excess of degree requirements specified at the time of admission.

The application deadline for fall admission is January 15; for spring admission October 1 (September 15 for international students). Admitted students may defer matriculation for no longer than two semesters provided that a written request for deferment is submitted to and approved by the SIS Graduate Admissions Office.

A Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional.  Applicants who have completed the exam are welcome to submit their scores as part of their application.  Non-native English speakers are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless they hold a degree from a U.S.-accredited institution before enrollment at SIS. The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 100 on the Internet-based test (iBT) or 600 on the paper-based test (PBT). The minimum IELTS score is 7.0.

All applicants must submit two letters of reference evaluating undergraduate academic performance and suitability for graduate study in international affairs, at least one of which should be from an academic source. A resume should be included in the application. Applicants must submit transcripts from all institutions attended. Cultural factors are considered in evaluating transcripts and examination results.

Requests for the transfer of a maximum of 6 graduate credit hours from other accredited institutions to be applied to a master’s degree must be completed in the student’s first semester in the graduate program at American University. A minimum grade of B in each course is required for transfer. Transfer courses must have been completed within five years of admission and must fulfill stated requirements of the degree program.

Degree Requirements

  • 39 credit hours of approved graduate coursework
  • Minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA required to remain in good academic standing and to earn the degree
  • Evidence of professional experience in the field: Relevant internship or work experience must be certified
  • Proficiency in a modern foreign language: Research competence in English and another language relevant to the student’s regional concentration must be certified
  • Capstone Experience: Completion of coursework that clearly relates to the field of Comparative and Regional Studies via one of the following:
    • Practicum: 3 credit hours, with grade of B or better
    • Substantial Research Paper: 3 credit hours, with grade of B or better
    • Master’s Thesis: 3-6 credit hours and submission of the thesis

Course Requirements

Core (18 credit hours)

Regional Concentration

  • 9 credit hours of coursework in a regional concentration: Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, the Middle East, or Islamic Studies
  • 3 credit hours of coursework covering a single thematic subject across two regions, one of which is the student’s primary regional concentration

Research Methods (6 credit hours)

Methods I

Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Methods II

  • 3 credit hours of approved methodology coursework appropriate to the student’s research and career interests

Thematic Concentration (9 credit hours)

Complete 9 credit hours in courses identified by the CRS faculty as part of one of the five CRS concentrations, or self-designed concentration:

  • Political Economy and Development
  • Governance and Democracy
  • Foreign Policy and Security
  • Nationalism, Identity, and Ideology
  • Conflict and Conflict Resolution
  • Self-Designed concentration approved by the student’s advisor making up an academically-sound and coherent area of study defined by a central concept and focused on a student’s particular area of interest

International Affairs (MA): Comparative and Regional Studies and Business Administration (MBA)

For approved dual degree program, see International Affairs (MA): Comparative and Regional Studies and Business Administration (MBA) .

International Affairs (MA) and Juris Doctor (JD)

For approved dual degree program, see International Affairs (MA) and Juris Doctor (JD) .

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs